- Review Price: £80.81
When it comes to all singing, all dancing, universal remote control’s Philips’ Pronto brand is something of a legend. If you want to control complex setups, with a large icon driven colour screen, then they are connoisseur’s choice. However, the downside is that they’re very expensive and probably overkill for most people’s needs.
Philips’s has now moved the Pronto brand into the custom install area and for the mass market has introduced the Prestigo line. This intention is to make an affordable, easy to use, and importantly, easy to program universal remote. The Prestigo takes a very different approach to programmability to something like Logitech’s Harmony remote control. Rather than requiring you hook up the remote to a PC and download the database to it – a database is preloaded onto the remote so that it’s easier and quicker to get up and running.
Design wise this is a nice bit of kit, that lives up to Philips’ big brand reputation. It’s quite a long and sleek handset, that’s bulky at the base that houses the three AA batteries, and then tapers in the middle. This shape at the rear makes it easy to hold. Even better, this means your thumb falls neatly on the control wheel that circles the central directional pad. This reminds me of the wheel on a San Disk Sansa MP3 player and spins easily.
Within this is a large button labelled, ‘OK’, but confusingly this isn’t used to confirm choices – this is done via a button just underneath this labelled with a tick. To be fair, this information is shown to you clearly on the LCD screen at the top.
The 1.5in x 2in display in a highlight of the remote. It’s actually a far better quality display than on the Harmony 895, a much more expensive unit. The display is bright and has pleasingly rich icons. The buttons are also pleasingly firm and have a solid feel. All in all it’s very well built for the money.
The design and spacing of the keys is also better than the Harmony 895, making it easier to find your way round the device. All the main keys that you will need to control something like a Sky box are present and correct, such as Menu, Guide, Back/Exit and Info. The colour coded buttons are at the top and the important Skip, Stop and Play buttons are located above the numeric keypad and below the circular dial, which is where you want them. The whole remote is backlit, which illuminates when you rotate the dial, which also lights up the main display.
Programming the device proved to be pretty much as easy as advertised. Below the screen is a More, Favourite, and a Home button. Holding down the Home button for three seconds brings up the Setup menu and from here you can choose the device language, (English, French, Spanish, German, Dutch and Italian), and most importantly add your devices. You select your device from a list of types such as DVDR, Cable, Satellite, Receiver, Amplifier, etc and then select a brand. This is typed in using the number pad, like writing a text on a phone.
Once selected, you then point the remote at your device and it scrolls through a number of possible profiles for that type of device – this could be three or it could be twenty. Once your device reacts, by switching itself off, your device should work and you can test it at this stage.
While setup was very easy, I did run into some issues specific to my system. Pressing menu on my TV, does what it should, but this menu can only be navigated via directional controls. However, despite the Philips having these, they had no effect, leaving me with an inaccessible menu. Additionally, I wasn’t able to get my CD player set up, despite it being a bog standard Sony from the late 90s. Finally, I use a, getting on a bit, SCART switch box and none of the device categories seem to match this and I wasn’t able to find it, leaving me with a key device that I couldn’t control.
However, if this happens then all is not lost as the SRU 8015 is a learning remote, so you can get it to pick up codes by pointing your old remote at the Philips.
The main feature that differentiates this from more expensive remotes is its inability to pull off a variety of complicated macro commands. This makes it unsuitable for those with complex home cinema systems, where you might want to say, turn on a TV, a cable box, an amp, and switch inputs on each, and then lower a projector screen, and then dim the lights. The SRU 8015 can do all of these things, but not necessarily with one button press. However, it does support Activities – so it can do simple things in sequence. This means I could set up a Watch TV activity, which turned on the TV and then the surround sound amp, and then defaulted to controlling the satellite box. However, if the surround sound is on the wrong input, I have to switch it manually. Again, its fine for most household setups and most will be satisfied with that, especially considering its ease of use.
One of my favourite features was the Favourite option – which has a wide selection of icons for channels from across Europe, which you can bring up when pressing the Favourite button. It simply types in the channel number for you, but it’s still a great feature.
The SRU 8015 then is a remote that really lives up to its billing as an easy to use remote. The built-in database is pretty comprehensive, and its holes can be filled in with some manual point and shoot work. Being able to quickly scroll between devices by spinning the dial and the physical controls then operating whichever device is highlighted, works a treat.
It’s a little on the large side but the Philips Prestigo SRU 8015 is a fine universal remote control. As it sets out to be, it’s easy to set-up and it’s better to use then more expensive remotes. The circular wheel to move between devices on the large, clear, colour screen is intuitive and nice touches such as Favourite channels really complete the package. It’s not perfect, but it’s well worth the money.
Score in detail